Graz / Leinfelden – "The reliability of the support we offer our partners has motivated additional building element manufacturers to begin or expand their collaboration with Roto this year." That was how CEO Marcus Sander summed up the development of Roto Frank Fenster- und Türtechnologie GmbH (Roto FTT) at the 18th International Trade Press Day of the Roto Group in Graz, Austria. Thanks to a years-long process of promoting digitalisation and automation, he explained, Roto is able to respond extraordinarily quickly to changing needs with its 18 factories, 31 logistics and distribution centres and more than 30 sales locations worldwide. "We carry our production where our systems are needed, and maintain a consistently high delivery service across all our product ranges," Sander stated. This all the more noteworthy in light of the substantial expansion of the company's portfolio. According to the CEO's assessment, this excellent reliability, in conjunction with the development of the product ranges and extraordinary customer service, formed the basis for the further acquisition of new customers in 2023.
Hardware and seals for all opening types and frame materials
Thanks to the integration of the Deventer Group in Europe and Ultrafab Inc. in the USA, customers across the world have access to sealing systems that are designed to perfectly match the movement geometry of the hardware product range for all opening types and frame materials. According to Sander, these kinds of system-specific services are sought out and appreciated by building element manufacturers because the function-specific interaction between hardware and seals directly influences the performance of windows and doors. "Requirements for the energy efficiency of buildings are growing as extreme weather events are increasing. Tightly sealed windows and doors are therefore becoming increasingly important for environmental protection and the safety and comfort of people." This is why more and more customers are making use of the integrated consultation available regarding hardware and seals. Their trust forms the basis for Roto's success.
Modular structure as standard
Sander went on to indicate that Roto has remained true to its "modular principle" for the product development of the hardware product range, as it provides a substantial economic benefit for customers: If hardware components are able to be used for manufacturing different elements and various opening types and are compatible with all frame materials, this improves the efficiency of building element manufacturing. At the Fensterbau Frontale trade fair in March 2024, Roto will present additional interesting new products and demonstrate how the combination of hardware and gasket can optimise functional safety and operating convenience. The technology specialist Roto will greet customers from all over the world at the trade fair in Nuremberg at its usual spot in Hall 1.
Special solutions for new requirements
Alongside maintaining the modular structure as standard, it is equally important to ensure that customers can rely on Roto as their partner if they have any special requirements. Sander emphasised: "We either already have the perfect solution, or we will work with the customer to develop it." He revealed that there is no end in sight for the company's innovations. As part of the Roto Aluvision branch, the team of advisers at Roto Object Business have continuously tackled interesting problems from aluminium window manufacturers within their organisation. The project-specific product developments from Roto Aluvision are supplemented by comprehensive services which Object Business has provided since 2014 to support customers across the world, from their initial product idea through to installation.
Impressive tested product quality
The tested quality of Roto components has been a relevant factor for many new Roto customers this year as well. Surface protection in accordance with the highest corrosion protection class and the tested durability properties of the hardware, as well as the durability of the seals, are important for manufacturing high-quality building elements. "Before our products come to market, they therefore undergo prototype and development testing as well as a diverse series of load tests in the modern Roto test laboratories. Our customers trust these quality assurance measures and this is doubtless one of the reasons they decide to purchase more and more components exclusively from Roto."
Various testing services from Roto
Customers across the world can also have their window and door systems undergo a performance test in Roto test laboratories. "A highly appreciated service that provides recognised added value," emphasised Sander. All tests are carried out in accordance with the latest national and international standards and guidelines. Some test centres, such as those in Leinfelden-Echterdingen and Kalsdorf, are accredited. This means that customers can also acquire recognised certificates from these test centres, e.g. concerning the suitability of a window for burglary protection requirements up to RC 4. "With our many test facilities, Roto has established a unique service that helps our customers to save time and money." The Sales department plays a key role in this process, because the team works in collaboration with the customer to optimally coordinate the system components and tests. "Hardware, seals and system testing – reliably supplied by one provider," that is the performance promise of Roto FTT.
"Perfect match" encourages growth in America
At the Trade Press Day in 2023, Marcus Sander again described the integration of Ultrafab Inc. as a "perfect match". Ultrafab is one of the leading manufacturers of window and door seals in North America. The product portfolio includes not only premium brush seals and extruded sealing profiles for building elements, but also some special products for applications outside the construction industry. "Two quality leaders have come together – this is beneficial for the image of both companies," the CEO stated. Further collaboration with notable manufacturers of aluminium windows in Central and South America provided an additional interesting boost this year as well. Here, Roto Aluvision was able to establish promising new partnerships, as the demand for tightly sealed aluminium elements is currently increasing in these countries.
Market changes in Asia
Property owners and the real estate sector in China have been particularly cautious this year, Sander indicated, which is not surprising given the insolvency of large regional property developers. The lack of new buildings was only slightly compensated for by the upswing in the retail sector. Products and services for retrofitting windows or replacing them as part of building renovations will be necessary in the medium term, but are in low demand at present due to the increased savings rate among consumers. A positive aspect for Roto is that window and door manufacturers increasingly look for product solutions and partners that increase the efficiency of their processes and the uniqueness of their product ranges in times of low demand. Modular hardware systems such as "Roto NX" or the tightly sealed "Roto Patio Inowa" sliding system are therefore in greater demand in China.
Customer base in Europe expanding
Roto FTT has once again been able to expand its customer base in Europe, not least thanks to the successful new products in the Sliding and Door sectors. "For quite some time now, Roto has been far more than just a synonym for Tilt&Turn hardware," Sander emphasised. Manufacturers of main and back doors, for example, appreciate Roto as a single-source supplier of door hinges, locking systems and thresholds. The uniqueness of the "Patio Inowa" sliding system appeals to large construction companies with special requirements, e.g. for sliding systems for high-rise buildings. As the same time, there is a growing awareness in Europe that the use of certain seals can simplify recycling of windows later on. "There are therefore many good reasons to get in contact with Roto, and we make sure that building element manufacturers enjoy optimal support for their requirements from our Sales department and, if necessary, from other specialists in our organisation."
Investments for environmental protection and reliability
In the coming year, Roto will continue to develop its locations across the world with a view to ensuring climate neutrality and reliability of power supply, Sander announced. Installations for generating power from renewable sources have contributed to environmental protection as well as ensuring consistent power supply and therefore the overall reliability of Roto. Digitalisation and automation are being further promoted to achieve full flexibility. "We do not presently know what events will affect the global economy and in particular the construction industry in the international markets in 2024. However, modern building elements are important for low-emission housing. This is the secure basis on which our industry stands. As a valued partner of many successful manufacturers, we have an optimistic view of the future. Roto is continuously investing to further improve the climate footprint of our industry and to remain a consistently ideal partner."